There seems to be a popular claim amongst psychiatrists that scary, cruel and other ethically questionable traditional fairy tales are beneficial for the development of a child's mind.
Bettelheim suggested that traditional fairy tales, with the darkness of abandonment, death, witches, and injuries, allowed children to grapple with their fears in remote, symbolic terms.
Is is true that traditional fairy stories help children address their fears?
The next sentence in WP's article about Bettelheim reads (emphasis mine)
If they could read and interpret these fairy tales in their own way, he believed, they would get a greater sense of meaning and purpose.
If true, this statement seems forgotten by most articles I could read on the subject, which tend to follow the first statement literally. This question not being about Bettelheim's work specifically, please disregard this precision.